Monday, February 3, 2014

ASICS Gear Review - Thermopolis LT Hoody & Lite-Show Tight

This was a truly "super" weekend for running in the New York City area. Saturday was my 16-mile long run up the Hudson River north of the Big Apple. Sunday was the annual NYRR Gridiron Classic 4-Miler at Central Park, preceding the Super Bowl over at Met Life Stadium. The weekend offered a slight respite from the relentlessly cold and snowy winter, which has resumed today.

Thermopolis LT Hoody

Saturday was a perfect opportunity to put my new ASICS Thermopolis LT Hoody to the test. The battering weather let up just enough that I didn't require the Storm Shelter outer layer, feeling in the 20s. I wore a circa-2007 ASICS long-sleeve base layer and the hoody over that.

The first virtue of this hoody that I want to extol is its reflectivity. Right now that seems more important than ever, at least to me. I started running at 2:12 p.m. ET and finished at sunset. I was running most of the way along River Road, steps away from the Hudson, and that's a one-lane road each way. Sometimes the shoulders are precarious, with hedges that provide little escape room, and sometimes the Coach USA bus comes into play. Combine that with the gradual darkness, and I was very wary about always being seen.

Also, I found myself often thinking of Meg Cross Menzies, for whom many of us ran #megsmiles 2 weeks earlier in tribute to the runner killed by an impaired motorist. The optic-colored trim on the Thermopolis LT Hoody is very neon-bright and visible. Even the thumb holes are trimmed in reflective fabric, so later in my run I was less apt to use the thumb holes to snug under my gloves, instead making sure they were visible outside of my gloves as yet another caution flag for oncoming traffic.

The fabric of this hoody is insanely soft and comfortable, but the cut is very flattering and fashionable. The zipper is that same hard-rubber material used for the Storm Shelter line. Yet while it closes out the cold for me, it also is very breathable and my body temperature was perfection my entire run.

I have another Thermopolis that is hoodless, and I especially wanted to break this out because the weather was sure to be variable over the course of 16 miles along an iced-over major river. Sure enough, the later it got, the chillier it was, and my ASICS knit cap was pretty wet by that point. It was an added comfort toward the end to pull on the hood and use the clinch-down hood adjusters to keep it tight. I love that I was able to do this long run with a hood that never bounced or slowed me, because of those adjusters.

The pockets are roomy and I carried a GU in each. There is a nice zippered media pouch on the left breast and an inside hole for earbuds, but on this day I went with my spi-belt as my iPhone would have been a little heavy and possibly flopping for this garment. I really look forward to running in this again.

Lite-Show Tight

For both the 16-mile long run and the Sunday sprint around hilly Central Park's inner loop (in 43:35), I wore only these ASICS black-and-silver tights as the bottom. There was no need for an outer layer, as winds were calm. No need for shorts over them, either. I am definitely more beefy than your average marathoner and have not been the type in the past to wear tights only, but these combined with the long Thermopolis tops has given me a new style that is really comfortable and convenient for my training and races.

Again, I'm going to start with reflectivity because that is really forefront in my mindset and that was a trepidatious course on Saturday (also factor in a lot of bikers coming right at me). The network of detailed paneling seams are all reflective and covered me in that area.

I was surprised by the thickness of the Lite-Show Tight. That's why I did not need an outer layer. And once you have them on, they feel like 100-percent cotton, something you don't want to take off. I checked the label and it says the main fabric is 86% nylon, 14% spandex, while the insert is 86% polyester and 14% spandex. I love the ankle elasticity, keeping my ankles covered and warm.

They felt so good, I didn't wash them and simply pulled them back on Sunday morning. I drove down to Central Park with Lisa and Rachel for the Gridiron Classic 4-Miler and Longest Football Throw competition. It was fun to throw a bomb, but that area of the park was muddy and you really couldn't grip the ball, so my throw was a little like one of Peyton Manning's that night. It was around 40 for the start of the race, which was balmy by Gridiron Classic standards, and I was pleased that these tights were just right, with my Thermopolis LT Half-Zip hoodless as a top over a thin base layer.

Now it's snowing, and it's on to Week 8 of Coach Kastor's 12-Week Training Plan for the March 9 ASICS LA Marathon. I can't wait to wear practically nothing from Dodger Stadium to the sea, but for now, we are dealing with the toughest winter since I've lived in New York (going back to 2005), and I'm thankful I have just the right ASICS gear to get me through it. Happy running.

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